Tasting our way through Fifth Town Artisan Cheeses

By the time we were ready to hit the road on Wednesday morning, the rain had started. It kept up all day, making driving difficult and forcing Susan to be mindful of big puddles. The first place we went to was Fifth Town’s dairy, located on County Road 8 in Picton.

Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Co.

It was a rainy day, and fairly crowded in the little store. All those people who were on camping trips starting on the long weekend decided to go into Picton (we had the most amazing traffic jam going through — worse than Queen West when all the young’uns are out in their cars, cruising the strip) or to the wineries and cheese places!

I’ve been a fan of Fifth Town’s cheeses for a quite a while: Alex Farms sells some of them, and Fifth Town comes to the Brickworks market, so I’ve bought directly from them there.

I do like that they had samples of most of their cheeses out to try. Susan noticed there wasn’t any quark, though, and inquired about it. Out came a container of quark cheese, and the staff member did something I thought very odd: she opened the container of quark, and drizzled dark maple syrup all over it. Ewwwww, right?

Wrong. Quark with maple syrup is delicious. The cheese is very mild, slightly tangy like yoghurt is tangy, and has a consistency like a dry cottage cheese that has been tightly packed. With the addition of maple syrup, it becomes light and fluffy and creamy (even though it’s a low-fat cheese). I had some on crackers this evening when I started writing this entry. I’ve told myself I can have some more when I finish writing tonight.

Each of us bought some quark.  We also tasted other cheeses and bought some of them. From Fifth Town, I came home with some Lemon Fetish (feta-like round with some lemon zest in it) and some Bagel Chevre with Lavender. Susan was hoping to score some Rose Haus, their washed-rind cow’s milk cheese, but none was to be had: it’s so popular that they have problems keeping it on hand, and even sold some that wasn’t as ripe as they’d like it to be, because of demand.  Either Sandy or Susan picked up some Bedda Fedda, their version of a Greek feta cheese.

While we were in line to pay for our purchases, Fifth Town kept us entertained and educated by running two videos overhead about how their cheese is made. “First, start with some goats or sheep…”

Fifth Town cheese

Alas, with the rain, I didn’t get a picture of the underground aging caves or wander around at all. I did go through their website again when I got home, and they’re really quite the model company for the future: involved in their community, cherish their employees, do what’s right for the environment, and produce great product. Go have a look: they’re really upfront about what they do.

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